“There’s no cutting edge technology in our building. We
just corralled the already existing energy-saving technologies
in one place,” says Craig Neyman, Vice President and CFO of
the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, about the organization’s headquarters located in Los Altos, CA.
The Packard Foundation’s headquarters has consistently
performed as a net zero facility, and it has paid off. Neyman
notes that while the decision to go net zero was in large part
motivated by the Foundation’s mission of conservation, the
investment was defensible because of the building’s strong ROI.
If you are thinking about zero energy for your organization, you will want to consider your location. Some regions
are more conducive to net zero energy based on climate – for
example, sunny and more temperate areas will perform better with solar and place less of a demand on HVAC systems.
Nevertheless, zero energy buildings can be put into use in any
number of climates; it might just require more effort in buildings that weather harsher conditions.
Just as some organizations have found the cost of making a
“Having some kind of metering that is public and helps
performance over time. Strong preparation and following
through with the best energy efficiency practices are key to
ensuring optimal performance, and getting occupants involved
with these practices helps significantly.
keep people aware of how performance is going is vital,” says
The idea of zero energy buildings might conjure images of
the most advanced technologies and building systems or, for
FMs, high costs. A lot of the systems and improvements that
are necessary to make your facility net zero are expensive,
but they offer high ROI when the right changes are made.
However, the costs associated with zero energy buildings
are decreasing over time. One of the main reasons going zero
energy costs less than it has in the past is because high quality,
efficient building materials and systems are easier to find, more
abundant in the marketplace and ultimately less expensive.
Systems That Contribute Most to Zero Energy Buildings
SOLAR PV ON
ROOFS or in
parking lots is
buildings use to
for the building.
AS ZERO ENERGY BUILDINGS BECOME
MORE COMMON, consensus is building about the
most effective systems to contribute the best performance. Brad Liljequist, Zero Energy Director at the
International Living Future Institute, highlights the following four systems as having the greatest impact:
Envelope: Liljequist starts with the building envelope,
which can in many cases be the easiest to retrofit in a
building. The key is making sure your building is properly air sealed, and most facilities that have successfully
met zero energy goals have paid attention to the air
barrier and are doing performance testing. Common
envelope improvements include double and continuous
insulation and high performance windows.
continued on page 26
Heat Pump: Because of the amount of innovation
that has happened in the last 10 years, the right heat
pump can be a great technology to make your building
Plug Loads: “People are really paying attention
to occupant loads using individual submetering to
understand how individuals are using power in the
building,” says Liljequist. The switch to LEDs and more
widespread adoption of daylighting also contributes
Solar PV: On the energy generation side, solar PV is
typically the best way to produce power in your facility.
In some cases, on-site wind energy can be a means to
fulfill your facility’s generation needs.